Americans will return to the moon in 2026, independent report judges

A public review on Monday ruled that humans’ return to the moon, which was already postponed last week by NASA from 2024 to 2025, will indeed take place in 2026 “at the earliest”.

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A report from the Office of the Independent Inspector General explained that the US Artemis program to return to the moon is facing “technical difficulties and increasing delays due to the Covid-19 pandemic and weather events.”

In particular: the development time required to complete two essential components of this historic mission.

First, the new spacesuits will not be ready “before May 2025 at the earliest,” this report said, particularly due to “technical challenges and a lack of funding.”

After that, the development of the manned landing system (HLS), which has been entrusted to SpaceX, will also suffer from “potential” delays. This lander, called the Starship, must be placed in lunar orbit, and the capsule that NASA launched with the astronauts aboard the swamp is there for them to climb there, bringing them to the lunar Earth.

The SIGIR report praised the “rapid pace” of SpaceX’s production, thanks to a system managed largely “in-house”. During his visits to California headquarters and factories in Texas in August, 20 Starship prototypes and 100 Raptor engines have already been built, he notes.

But while over the past 15 years, the period between contract award and the first flight was eight and a half years, SpaceX should have achieved this feat in half the time, the audit notes.

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Compte tenu de ces facteurs, « nous estimons que la Nasa va dépasser de plusieurs années son calendrier actuel pour poser des humains sur la Lune en 2024 », écrit le rapport, qui ne prend pas en l compte la dernière’re annonce Date.

The latter, he adds, “is likely to slip into 2026 at the earliest.”

This mission, which would be the equivalent of Apollo 11, is called Artemis 3. It will be preceded by Artemis 2, which will carry astronauts to the Moon, but without landing. This is due to take place in 2024, which the report also concluded.

Before, Artemis 1 would also go to the moon, but without an astronaut on board. This mission is usually scheduled for February 2022, but revision estimates say it will actually take place “in the summer of 2022.”

The Office of the Inspector General also criticized spending on the lunar program. It will cost up to $93 billion by fiscal year 2025, the report estimates, with a launch cost of $4.1 billion for the first four missions.

He urges the space agency, which is funded by the US taxpayer, to “identify ways to reduce costs”.

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